Sunday, November 2, 2008

Making and Keeping Man Friendships

This is a great post from The Art of Manliness. Many men, including myself, have a difficult time making male friends -- especially male friends where we can be ourselves.

I have bad habit of leaving old friendships behind as I grow and become more of who I am (and less of what people expect me to be). So, I want to make my own recommendations for book clubs and, if you are athletic, sports teams. Some of my best male friendships have been with fellow soccer players and fellow readers.

But I also want to plug "ideas groups," where people gather to talk about politics, literature, philosophy, and, god forbid, poetry. As a one-time working poet, being a member of a poetry group with other working poets was very rewarding.

Making and Keeping Man Friendships

October 28, 2008

2556225843_e821baa493 Making and Keeping Man Friendships

Image from varones

Several weeks ago we posted an article about the history and nature of man friendships. Several readers added comments in which they lamented the difficulty in both making and keeping man friendships, a sentiment I fully sympathize with. Once you’re out of college, and especially if you get married and move, it becomes rather hard to make new friends and maintain the bond with your old pals. I struggle with this problem myself, and so while I won’t claim to be an expert with all the answers, I have spent some time talking with other men and brainstorming ideas for how men can make and keep solid man friendships.

How to Find Some New Bros

Join an organization. Part of the difficulty today’s men face with making new friends is the isolated nature of their social lives. There’s work and home, and not much else. Joining an organization is quite possibly the best way to create a new social circle for yourself.

Some men say that they’d like to join an organization but that they simply do not have the time for it the way their grandfather or father did. But the problem is not a lack of time, but how that time is being utilized. We don’t work that many more hours than our dads did, so there must be other reasons we feel so harried in our daily lives. Take an inventory of what you’re really spending your time on. You might say that you’re spending that time with your family, but how many of those “quality time” hours consist of you simply watching TV or surfing the net? Are you running around to an insane number of your kids’ activities? Everyone wants their kids to be able to follow their interests, but dad needs to have interests too. Does Johnny really need play football, baseball, and soccer? By organizing your schedule more efficiently and cutting down on extraneous time-suckers, every man can have time to be part of an organization. Plus, having healthy man friendships and interests outside your family will make you a saner, more well-rounded man, and thus a better husband and father.

Ideas of Organizations to Join

freemason Making and Keeping Man Friendships

Image from Mig_R

Fraternal Organizations. They’re not just for your grandpa. They can bring great fulfillment and satisfying man friendships into your life. Fraternal organizations are the perfect conduit for friendship-making because they provide all the ingredients needed for brotherly bonding: common ideals, a sense of tradition and responsibility, and a focus on service. There are several great fraternal organizations out there to look into, but it’s hard to argue with the Masons being the best place to start.

Churches/Religious Organizations. Like fraternal orders, churches are a fruitful place to make man friendships as they are a place where you can find gents with the same values and goals as you. Many churches have groups that are for men only and are designed for both fellowship and spiritual growth.

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Sports Leagues. If you love sports, instead of spending your weekend alone watching them on TV, join an intramural league and get back on the field. From flag football to ultimate frisbee, your town is sure to have clubs that meet for some good old fashioned man competition. Joining up will whip you into shape, feed your man spirit, and give you the kind of bond with other men that can only be found on the playing field.

Toastmasters. Toastmasters solves two fundamental problems in the life of modern man: a lack of friends and a deficiency in the art of public speaking. Not only will you learn to be a better orator, you’ll also meet lots of other men to befriend.

friendbook Making and Keeping Man Friendships

Image from varones

Book Clubs. For some reason (read: Oprah), book clubs have become associated with women, bearing one’s soul, and Kleenex. But there’s nothing sissy about books; discussing great literature was a pastime of many of the great men in history. Benjamin Franklin, for example, started a group called the Junto in which men vigorously discussed books. Talking about the ideas and themes of great books will quickly let you get to know the thoughts and philosophies of other guys. Many libraries offer male-only book clubs that read books men like. If you library doesn’t, why not start one at your house?

Read more of this great article.

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